Ginger Caramel Almond Butter Cups

I recently bought a jar of almond butter because someone told me that if you eat a spoonful of it every morning you feel energized all day. I have yet to eat it in the morning. So, I’ve been trying to think of a way to use up some of the butter and I decided to make something like a peanut butter cup, only with almond butter. I’ve also been making homemade dulce de leche for a while and thought that would be a nice layer in the cup as well. I went a step further (to use up more kitchen surplus) and decided to make it a ginger caramel (with a dash of rum!). For the chocolate cup, I used an organic dark chocolate that I had never tried before.

Considering this was an experiment, and that I didn’t pay much attention to making them look pretty, these treats turned out better than expected. The minced ginger added a mild spiciness to the salty, sweet, and nutty interior, and the dark chocolate provided a tasty cocoa shell for all the creamy goodness.

10-12 ounces dark chocolate (I used three 3.5 ounce bars)
1/2 cup almond butter (I used an all natural one that was low in sodium)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups skim milk (whole milk could also be used)
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons rum (optional)

Heat up the milk and granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir often until it starts to turn a light tan color. Add the ginger (and rum) and stir continuously to prevent the bottom from burning. The color will continue getting darker and the consistency will thicken. The caramel is ready when you spoon some onto a cold plate and it gets firm but not hard. Remove it from the heat and transfer the caramel into a small container. Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and almond butter for two minutes. Sift in the confectioner’s sugar, and add the salt. Mix everything together. Cover and refrigerate the mixture.

Using a double boiler (or in a bowl in the microwave on a low setting) heat up the chocolate until it’s just melted. Line a mini-muffin pan with paper liners and pour a small amount of chocolate into the bottom of each liner, and spread out if necessary so that it fully covers the bottom. Put the entire pan in the freezer (or fridge) until the chocolate has hardened. Make sure the pan is laying flat so that the chocolate doesn’t shift as it cools.

Spoon a little caramel onto the chocolate in each cup and spread it out a little, making sure not to let it get close the paper sides. If the caramel has cooled and is too hard to spread or flatten, microwave it for about 15-30 seconds to soften it. Then, with two small spoons, make little balls of almond butter mixture, about half the size of each cup and place them into the center of each cup. Using the back of a spoon or off-set spatula, flatten it out a little and again be careful not to let the mixture touch the sides of the liner. Finally pour enough melted chocolate into each cup to completely cover the fillings. If necessary, use a chopstick or the back of a spoon to push everything down into the cup and ensure there are no air pockets.

Put the pan back into the freezer or refrigerator until the cups have hardened. Let them come back to room temperature before eating. Store in the refrigerator.

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